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He’s dynamic, he’s dazzling, he’s our Denmark specialist and Nick Ames was in the Education City Stadium to see that rather exciting 0-0 draw.
Peter Steele writes in: “Re: Bogdan’s observation. Worth noting the Europeans are still unbeaten. Saudi, Tunisia and Ecuador all looked good. But Iran, Qatar and Argentina have all looked pretty poor. Senegal were OK with a Mané shaped hole up front.”
We had *only* eight minutes added on in this match. Fergie-time has become Fifa-time.
The reason, Fifa has confirmed, is down to a new directive to ensure that all “unnatural lost time” is added on at the end of each half. In Qatar it has asked officials to more accurately monitor when a game is stopped for goal celebrations, time wasting, video assistant referee decisions, substitutions, penalties and red cards – even if it means extending a match by many minutes.
As we await the match report, some armband news.
Germany’s pre-match presser just got a tick more interesting after BILD broke the news that the DFB are looking into suing FIFA re the armband.
Flick and Kimmich will likely have to face more than just questions about the game tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/ra8NtKRkbn
Bogdan Kotarlic gets in touch: “Saudi Arabia won earlier today, Tunisia held out for a draw against a very good Danish team, it seems to me that the non-European teams playing here in Qatar have improved in the last few years? Or maybe it is the case of few good performances and later these teams will be well beaten by the Europeans?”
On that non-penalty, from my esteemed colleague Philip Cornwall: “I think the no penalty call was not because of the handball, but because of a Denmark playing shoving a Tunisian beforehand. That’s why it restarted with a Tunisia free-kick. Jensen shoves someone over with an arm in the back. The No 11, before the ball comes in: Taha Khenissi. Why else restart with a Tunisia free-kick?”
On ITV, rentaref Peter Walton is rattling on about it not being a handball. He’ll probably change his opinion later to suit events, as is his way.
Full-time: Denmark 0-0 Tunisia
A result that will not resound as globally as Saudi Arabia beating Argentina but Tunisia celebrated that with gusto. They deserved their point, giving their all, and not without danger on the attack. Denmark lacked a cutting edge and were put off their stride, they were also denied a penalty late on, a couple, in fact. Instead, VAR’s screen of doom was shown short shrift by the Mexican referee, and Tunisia got the point they deserve. That lived up to the description of an entertaining goalless draw.
90+8 min: Yeah, he’s dragging this one out but more clumsiness from Cornelius results in a Tunisia free-kick. Surely that’s it, and it is. A famous draw, a point well won by Tunisia.
90+6 min: Tunisia clinging on now, this would be a famous, and deserved, point, they will have at least one more corner to come. Eriksen will take, and the Tunisian keeper claims. Well done, him.
VAR called into action - Denmark penalty denied!
90+4 min: Hang on…what’s this? VAR called into action. The handball that took place ages ago is seen on screen, a penalty looks likely, and then the ref goes to the screen and waves it away. Told you he was no fan of VAR. Unprecedented scenes. César Arturo Ramos, for it is he, you old renegade, you.
90+2 min: Getting scrappy now, and Dahmen slides to try and prevent a corner, but can’t do it. Cornelius had got the ball stuck under his feet. There’s an appeal for handball from the Danes. Again, no VAR called in.
90 min: Laidouni got hugs from all the Tunisia staff, for one hell of a shift.
Only five minutes added on. Fifa robbing us of bonus soccer when there’s been a load of subs this half, is it?
88 min: Chance for a break as Damsgaard gets the ball but Cornelius is cumbersome and knocked over. Tunisia make another chance., two of them. Drager and Laidouni, who has looked tired since his solo run, go off, and Sassi and Kechrida off.
86 min: Booking for Khenissi, who wallops into Jensen.
84 min: Hannibal takes ball and man – Maehle – out at the touchline. There is nothing doing but that one looked close. The referee, who doesn’t seem to like VAR much, shows utter disinterest.
83 min: Jensen has to hurry the ball back to Schmeichel as Hannibal gives chase.
80 min: Big cheers from the Tunisian fans – feels like the home fans – for a double substitution. Off go the two older strikers in Jebali and Msakani, for Hannibal, and Taha Yassine Khenissi.
79 min: Tunisia look tired, and so do Denmark. And there’s probably 20 minutes to play yet if the referee follows the Fifa doctrine.
77 min: Cornelius and the high ball seems to be the new tactic for Denmark. If it can work for Kieffer Moore and Wales then why not? Jensen is booked for a foul on a speeding Sliti.
75 min: Cornelius holds up the ball down a channel but can’t find a colleague. Jensen ducks and weaves but then can’t get his shot on target. Hannibal, the Manchester United kid, may be imminent soon. The Tunisian crowd seems to hope so.
73 min: Kasper Hjulmand looks annoyed on the bench. This has been a decent match but must be frustrating to be involved in.
71 min: Tunisia want a penalty, the ball came off the naturally positioned hand of Andersen. He was close so no penalty. VAR did not have a look, the ref waved it away. Lengthy protests. A replay of the Cornelius incident: he had to score…but didn’t.
70 min: The corner causes chaos, Christensen heads across and the ball is heading over the line, it just needs Cornelius to tap in, and he fails to do so.
69 min: Those changes are taking a while to percolate, the game a bit shapeless, and Eriksen, coming into the middle, gets the chance to shoot from the edge of the box. Dahmen makes a fine save.
67 min: Tunisia sub: Slimane off, and Naïm Sliti comes on.
65 min: Here it comes. Kjaer off, and he hands the armband to Jensen of Brentford. Cardiff legend Cornelius on, for Dolberg. Lindstrom, a Europa League winner with Eintracht, on for Skov Olsen. And with it comes a rejig, perhaps three at the back and a flooding of defence.
63 min: It appears a triple Denmark change is in the offing.
61 min: Ball headed behind for a Denmark corner. Eriksen skids the ball at Andersen but Tunisia clear.
59 min: Tunisia aren’t done, and they try and mount an attack, their fans roaring every pass. The rarely spotted “Olé” at 0-0.
57 min: Maehle shows his skill, making space for Damsgaard to whip in the ball from the flank. Dahmen in the Tunisia goal flaps, and it’s beginning to look like Denmark can see a way through. Dolberg’s flick was there for the taking but Skov Olsen fails to read the ball’s flight.
55 min: Denmark get the ball in the net after a lengthy ricochet session, Skov Olsen slots in, but there’s an offside on the play.
54 min: Yann Dury is back with that Forest contingent in full(ish):
Squad players: - Bren Johnson (Wales) - Neco Williams (Wales) - Wayne Hennessey (Wales) - Freuler (Switzerland) - Kouyate (Senegal)
Loaned players: - Laryea (Toronto / Canada) - Drager (Dunno / Tunisia) - Aguilera (Dunno / Not that one / Costa Rica) - Hwang Ui-jo (Olymiakos / South Korea) - Horvath (Luton / USA!!)
53 min: Bronn, the centre-back, has a shot, and deflected behind. What a wall of noise. Slimane’s corner is cleared.
51 min: Damsgaard is on the field to add extra creativity and ball-carrying, but he is surrounded by Tunisian defenders, whose line is held. And then the ball breaks for Laidouni, who is away, but not confident in himself, or his own energy. Then Draeger smashes over. Laidouni is bent double in exhaustion after that run. Not even the energy of the crowd can stop him feeling fatigued.
49 min: The Tunisian defence remains strong, and it feels like something special is going to be required.
47 min: Denmark immediately concede a corner, as Tunisia go again at the B of the Bang. It’s cleared but the time when Denmark must pick off their opponents draws closer. At the moment, they are still being swarmed all over.
46 min: And we’re back…can the Tunisians keep it up?
Kári Tulinius: “I’m surprised how lacking in imagination the Danes have been. A team of that quality shouldn’t be sending speculative crosses in from deep in the first half. I imagine Jalel Kadri must be pretty happy with the way the match is going.”
Gregory Phillips: “All the focus on the players backing down has made us momentarily forget the point, I think, which is that FIFA is the villain here. Infantino is a joke, except he isn’t funny. Not intentionally, anyway, and even the unintentionally farcical nature of his “management” of this event is hard to laugh at given how many people have suffered. Sorry, I might just be annoyed that someone just scheduled a meeting with me during Mexico-Poland. What is wrong with people?”
Yann Dury: “Five from the PL squad and a further five who are out on loan. Five of them were on team sheets yesterday (for three teams in two of the matches).”
Have some half-time Squires.
Half-time: Denmark 0-0 Tunisia
That’s been a decent half, full of Tunisian energy, and Denmark frustrated. It took a Kasper Schmeichel save to keep it level at the break. The Danes will feel the bruises, and be deafened by the noise from the North African fans.
45+4 min: We get some added time, of course. But that’s it for the first half.
45+3 min: Denmark have a free-kick in a decent, inside-right position, Eriksen territory. It zips in, and Meriah, one of the Tunisian towers, heads behind.
45+1 min: We had just four minutes added on, which feels like a tournament low. Delaney is being iced up on the sidelines.
45 min: Jembali shoves over Andersen, and somehow escapes a booking. It looks like Thomas Delaney will be going off. His day is done, and on comes Mikkel Damsgaard, of Brentford, though who hasn’t made much of an impact in west London just yet. Delaney looked to be holding his hamstring. Uh oh.
43 min: So close! Looked like the one. Jembali was through, and Schmeichel, in a one-on-one, somehow smothers a ball heading for goal. That reminded very much of his father’s starfish...it was a brilliant save, genetics in action.
41 min: Hjoberg wants a penalty for a foul from, yes, Laidouni. No dice. Thomas Delaney meanwhile has a problem. And gets slowly to his feet.
39 min: Slimane takes a corner for Tunisia, after plenty of jostling, and it falls to that man Laidouni, who sees glory and crashes it just wide. He’s been excellent, the Ferencvaros player.
Here’s our profile from our interactive.
The warrior in Tunisia’s midfield. Laïdouni embodies Tunisian “grinta” – grit and determination. A combative box-to-box runner, formidable in the tackle, he arrives in Qatar tipped to be his nation’s breakout star this winter. It is clear that his days in Hungary are numbered, with major European clubs tracking his progress. He has spoken previously of his ambition to make the step up: “I really like England and Germany. These are really two championships that make me excited … I just have to give the best of myself in each match: I always try to move forward. But there are no givens in football. That’s why you should never stop working, surpassing yourself. That’s my focus: I have to continue this momentum.”
37 min: Laidouni, who has been the player of the game so far, attempts to thread a pass through. Tunisia have been close on a couple of occasions when looking to supply the final ball.
35 min: Denmark now dominating possession. Tunisia coiling ever backwards.